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Early Childhood Initiative

Fri, Jan 15th, 2010
Posted in Education

The Fillmore County Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) is a county wide coalition of community members who are concerned and involved in the early childhood experience for our children. The mission for our ECI is to "support families while building a connected community of H.O.P.E: Health, Optimism, Possibilities, Education." The ECI has three priority areas revolving around volunteerism, mental and emotional health, and high-quality, affordable child care.

Mental health is a key aspect to the later development of a child. It also provides a way for a child, especially infants, to form relationships, regulate emotions, and to feel comfortable and safe in their environment to explore and learn. It is a common belief that infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are too young to have mental health problems. However, it is infants, toddlers and preschoolers who are most vulnerable to mental health problems. Research has shown that a child's brain is about 90 percent developed by the age of 5. According to Initiative Quarterly, when children feel pain and sense trauma, their bodies respond by releasing chemicals that can affect brain development and prevent pathways in the brain from forming. It was once believed that mental health issues come from genetics, but new research is showing that it can also come from environmental factors as well.

On February 5th the Fillmore County Early Childhood Initiative will be co-sponsoring a one day seminar on children's mental health at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center from 9:00 A.M-4:00 P.M. The seminar is being presented by the MN Department of Human Services. Participants at the seminar will learn about optimal growth through nurturing relationships, screening and assessment procedures for social-emotional health in children, and identify strategies that promote well-being in children. There is a $25 registration fee which covers lunch and a book. For more information, please contact Holly Kanengeiter at holly.kanengeiter@isd2198.k12.mn.us or at (507) 765-3809 ext. 401.

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